ARLINGTON, Va. – More travelers will soon be on our roadways as students begin walking, bicycling, and riding the bus to school when classes resume on Monday, August 30, 2021. The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) will conduct a high-visibility transportation safety campaign in and around school zones and bus stops to ensure the trip to class is as safe as possible.
Variable message boards will be placed along roadways in Arlington County to raise awareness about the start of the school year and to remind motorists to slow down, avoid distractions and watch for students. With a little awareness and prevention, all travelers can arrive at their destinations in a timely and safe manner.
Engaging with Arlington’s Youth
While Arlington County Police Officers will not be in the schools this year, we remain fully committed to being actively engaged with Arlington’s youth. Officers assigned to the newly formed Youth Outreach Unit will be out in the community, building relationships and supporting youth initiatives and educational campaigns to help keep young people safe.
Over the next few months, Arlington Public Schools (APS) and ACPD will collaborate to develop a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to redefine and reimagine the relationship between the two organizations. The MOU will clearly define the roles, responsibilities and expectations of both APS and ACPD.
Youth Outreach and Patrol Officers will continue to respond, as appropriate, when we are contacted regarding a school-based incident. Incidents can be reported for investigation by calling the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222 or 9-1-1 in an emergency. Applicable non-emergency incidents can also be reported using the Online Police Reporting System or by calling the Telephone Reporting Unit (TRU) at 703-228-4300.
Transportation Safety Tips
Drivers are reminded to;
- Obey speed limits which may change during school zone times.
- Avoid distracted driving and keep your attention on the road.
- Watch for students walking and riding bikes to school.
- Don’t pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading passengers.
- On a two-lane road, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop.
- On a multi-lane paved road, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop.
- On a divided highway, vehicles behind the bus must stop. Vehicles traveling in the opposite direction may proceed with caution.
- Have all vehicle occupants wear their seatbelts.
- Pick-up and drop-off students in designated locations.
Pedestrians are reminded to;
- Cross the street at marked crosswalks and never against a red light.
- Look before you cross and follow the direction of school crossing guards or APS staff members.
- Always walk on designated sidewalks or paths, never along the side of a road.
Bicyclists are reminded to;
- Wear your helmet. Helmets are required for riders ages 14 and younger but are recommended for all.
- Keep right and ride with traffic.
- Secure your bicycle with a lock when not in use.
General Safety Tips for Students
Safety is everyone’s responsibility and back-to-school is an opportune time to remind students about important steps that can help keep them safe while out in the community. Parents and guardians are also encouraged to role-play possible situations with students and discuss personal safety and awareness tips.
- Know their address, telephone number and how to contact a parent or guardian.
- Remain aware of their surroundings.
- Walk or bike with another person, whenever possible. Stay in well-lit areas.
- Limit the use of devices that may distract them.
- Avoid engaging with or answering questions from strangers.
- Immediately report anything that makes them feel unsafe to a trusted adult.